Florida Drift Diving

I just returned from five days of drift diving in West Palm Beach, Florida. Despite Hurricane Irene passing through in the middle of our trip, it was a great time and we completed a number of good dives.


The swimming pool and cabana at The Scuba Club in West Palm Beach

A view from our suite


Scott preps his gear for our second day of diving

View of The Scuba Club from the boat

Getting ready to head out for a dive. Hurricane, schmuricane.

Thursday morning. Hurricane Irene rolls by.

So we can't dive because of the hurricane. Hey, I know! Let's go to the beach! Here Darrick discusses swimming in a hurricane with the lifeguard.


The pelicans were loving it

It was nice knowing you, Darrick.


The morning after the hurricane passed

Time for more diving!

The diving group on our way back home. (L-R): Terry, Darrick, Laurie, Tom, Scott, and me






Pinewood Derby 2011

Pack 384 held the annual Pinewood Derby today at Oswego East High School. Dozens of cars were raced, and each car was run on all six lanes, so it was an all day event.

There were many, many cars being raced. Kyle's is third from the left in the front row on the foam, and mine is at the far left in the second row on the board with the other adult cars.

Kyle's car ready to race (far left lane)

The drivers eagerly await the start of the next race

Kyle's car squeaks in second (third lane from the left)

My car getting ready to race (second from right)

First place by a full length!

3 100ths of a second ahead of the next car

Kyle's car placed second among all the Tiger scouts. Here Kyle receives his trophy.

My car placed first among the adult cars.

The Winners!

Pinewood Derby Cars

For my pinewood derby car I drew the side and top profile freehand, traced it onto the car body, then cut it out with a jigsaw. I further shaped and smoothed it with my oscillating spindle sander and stationary belt sander, then hand sanded to get a perfectly smooth and regular contour.

My car body after shaping and sanding.

The bottom is hollowed out to allow space for weights.

I cut narrow strips of painters tape to mask the body

After staining, the taped lines show as the original pine color

The finished product

I made Kyle’s car a simple wedge design to allow him to do as much of the work as possible. I cut the shape on the table saw and rounded the corners on the router table. Kyle sanded it with my help, then I inserted weights and spray painted the car. Kyle decorated it with stickers and hammered in the wheels to finish the car.

New Lens

I received my new Nikkor 50mm/1.4 in the mail today. It’s a beautiful thing.

These were taken in room light with the lens wide open. Now I can actually take Portraits and not just snapshots.

More Than Meets the Eye




Shooting for Transformers 3 is taking place in the street across the river from my building this week. The street itself looks like a war zone, with tons of rubble, smashed cars, and a burned out Vienna Beef street vendor cart. The crane with the blue box in the center of the last photo is the center of the action right now. They put a guy up on the box, raise it in the air, then he flips off while sparks fly out of the box. It looks really cheesy – makes you appreciate how much work goes into these movies post-shooting.